Bikes are entering mainstream consciousness. Just look at today's Strib.
Sure, this was Bike to Work Week and the print edition had a jump photo to Roadguy Jim Foti's article (and blog post) about the opening of the new Midtown Greenway commuter bike station, but that's not what I'm talking about. Bike photos also featured prominently in a story about a green architect (shown heading for work) and one about the impact of gas prices on church attendance (a church encourages biking to services).
But the clincher for me came today at an orientation meeting for volunteers for next month's USGA Women's Open Championship. The auditorium at Normandale College was filled with volunteers from area golf clubs. Although the most obsessed golfers would rather play than work an event, this was still a pretty golf-focused subset of the population.
After an hour orientation, the session opened for questions, with speakers asking first for general questions before dealing with more individual queries. My DP whispered to me, "Are you going to ask if they have bike parking?" Sure, I said, but that's not a general question.
In fact, the first question from about 500 golf fanatics was, "Will there be bike parking?"
And the answer was yes, in three locations.
I've been doing cross-town errands on my road bike outfitted with a couple rolls of Velcro on the handlebars in case I want to bring along an extra shirt or hang a bag of something on the way home. I have a messenger bag for hauling more stuff if required.
Riding back from St. Paul in the rain last week got me thinking about a rig more suited for commuting, but I thought I'd wait until I sold the car (send to a friend). I was not looking for a bike when we brought another to Hiawatha Cyclery for modifications, but it's certainly a tempting place if you have a taste for something out of the ordinary, use a bike for transportation and consider lycra a nonessential fabric.
Plus, there was this beauty in the shop, and I heard the magic words from owner Jim Thill: "I can't seem to get anybody to buy it." Which is his version of a hard sell and my version of how much is that doggie in the window.
Since most readers here aren't hard core hardware types (including me), I won't get into all the finer points of this modification, which you can find about here.
After mulling it for a day or so, I rode it home and spent the last few days tarting it up between rides — adding a commuter mug for yucks, an REI shaving kit to carry tube, tools and garage door opener and devising a pannier-like attachment for an unused leather brief case (I can even do matching saddle bags).
A hundred miles later, I still haven't ridden with a cup of coffee, but I've hauled a case of beer. So far, so sweet.